We hear a lot these days from Christy Clark and the B.C. Liberals about B.C.’s excellent seniors services.
I disagree strongly with the contention that our government has been looking after our elders appropriately and we cannot trust the Liberals to do better in the future.
In earlier elections, the Liberals complained that 103 residential care beds per thousand British Columbians 75 and over were not enough. They promised B.C. citizens to increase seniors intermediate – and long-term beds by 5,000 in 2001, but by 2009 had only delivered 800. We are still suffering in 2017 from these broken promises. It is worse now. In 2016, the number of beds dropped to 82.
Another promise was to increase home care to allow seniors to age in place. Broken! Services are impossible to access without a great deal of money and even then are only 50 minutes once or twice a week. In 2001, home care supports were being provided to about 16 per cent of people 75 and older. By 2016, it dropped to about 11 per cent.
Christy Clark’s solution is to privatize residential homes, allowing the owners to deliver even less care to seniors. Shame! Private businesses must make a profit and so are quite willing to forgo healthy food and proper health care and attention that seniors deserve. There are more than 100 private care homes that provide less than the government required 3.36 hours of staffing — nurses, occupational and recreational therapists, nutritionists, care aides — per resident per day. And the government homes don’t meet their own requirements either.
Our seniors have been abandoned. They languish in acute care beds in hospitals because there are no long-term beds for them to heal in after surgery or an emergency. These hospital beds could be used for people who really need them if there were rehab beds and adequate long-term facilities. Our seniors are sent home in hospital gowns in the middle of the night by taxi with no support at home.
This Liberal government cannot be trusted to care for our seniors. We need a change in B.C. to a government with vision and compassion to stand up for our vulnerable citizens and give them the respect and health care they need and deserve. The NDP will honour their commitments and look after seniors in B.C. Let’s give them a chance.